Dodge Journey
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Even though the vehicle that it’s based upon is dead and gone, the flexible and clever three-rows-of-seats Journey makes much better use of the platform anyway.

An older 173-horsepower four-cylinder engine and a significantly more impressive 283-horsepower V6 carry over; automatic transmissions all around and all-wheel-drive offered in V6 versions.

While the Avenger was a perfectly serviceable mid-size sedan, it isn’t answering the call for 2015. But the tall-wagon that uses its bones and engines is a much more palatable proposition and remains in production. The Journey scores a hole-in-one as a practical, efficient and affordable carrier. It has just-right sizing going for it, which means its more compact than a Chevrolet Traverse or Ford Explorer, but larger than a Mitsubishi Outlander. These rigs offer standard or optional third-row seating, but all are considerably more expensive than the $21,000-base-price Journey. In entry-level trim, it provides seating for five people, although there’s an available two-place third-row 50:50 split bench. There are also some other clever interior storage options such as a front passenger seat with a flip-forward hinged cushion that’s ideal for concealing cameras, purses and other valuables. And all models feature two in-floor storage compartments with removable plastic liners behind the front seats that are large enough to hold a dozen beverage cans each, plus ice. And don’t forget the chilled storage bin inside the glove compartment that can keep a couple of cool beverages at the ready. The Journey uses a 173-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder with four-speed automatic in base models. Optional is a 283-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 with a six-speed auto. The new-for-2015 Crossroad slots in the middle of the five other trim levels — American Value Package, SE, SXT, Crossroad, Limited and R/T — which means there’s likely a Journey for every taste, need and budget. Base equipment includes air conditioning keyless remote entry, power windows, locks and mirrors and a complete range of safety gear. Crossroad models get special leather seats, gloss-black 19-inch wheels, different chrome trim front and rear and tinted lights. Limited and R/T models offer leather seating surfaces, roof rack, backup camera, navigation system, regular 19-inch wheels and a flashlight stored in the cargo area. Four-cylinder models are exclusively front-wheel-drive, but all-wheel-drive is optional with the V6. The system automatically kicks in to direct power to the rear wheels when needed, including slippery mud and snow conditions as well as when the vehicle is accelerating up to 65 mph.